Businessman Ioan Niculae, owner of the Interagro Group, tops the Forbes 500 edition launched in Romania yesterday, with a fortune estimated at EUR 1 – 1.1 bln, up by EUR 100 M compared to 2011. The hike is exclusively due to the growth registered by his agricultural and chemical sector businesses and to the significant investments made in the past two years.Romanian-born businessman Frank Timis, owner of African Minerals, a company active in Africa, continues to be second in the rankings. Frank Timis’s fortune dropped by EUR 300 – 350 M to EUR 900 – 950 M. Three years ago Frank Timis discovered in Sierra Leone one of the largest iron deposits on the African continent, estimated at 12.8 billion tons. In 2011, African Minerals sold to China’s state-owned Shandong Iron & Steel Group (one of the world’s largest steel producers) 25 per cent of the mining project in Sierra Leone, for EUR 1.5 bln. After topping the rankings for three years in a row, businessman Dinu Patriciu dropped on third place this year, his fortune dropping by EUR 800 – 900 M from EUR 2.1 – 2.2 bln last year, against the backdrop of poor investments. Dinu Patriciu continues to own significant real-estate assets, most of them commercial spaces and office buildings, in Germany and Romania. Twelve new names entered the Forbes 500 edition this year. Most of them are businessmen and athletes working abroad. The fortunes of the billionaires included in the rankings total EUR 21.5 bln, having dropped EUR 3.5 bln since 2011. The estimates were made by the Fairwind and Darian companies. The recently launched Capital 300 table shows a different hierarchy, Frank Timis being first, followed by Ioan Niculae, Ion Tiriac, Dinu Patriciu and Dan Grigore Adamescu.